The Clinton Board of Education took a rigid look at discipline in its schools earlier this week, noting the rise in short-term suspensions
During a Monday work session, Terrace Miller, associate superintendent for Student Services and Federal Programs, presented the latest discipline data. For the 2012-13 school year, 530 short-term suspensions were reported. In 2011-12, that amount was 242.
Some of the reasons for suspensions included dress code violations or profanity.
“The students’ responses may have blew it up to something bigger,” Miller said about the incidents.
Superintendent Stuart Blount said there’s always going to be disciplinary problems in schools, but the focus should remain on educating the majority of students. He also questioned if teachers contribute to the problem in any way.
“What are the adults doing to contribute on what’s on this piece of paper,” Blount said while looking at the figures, adding that if a lot of referrals are coming from the same teacher, that issue may need to be examined.
Board member Carol Worley mentioned the idea of developing character traits at earlier grade levels, before middle school. Vice chairman E.R. Mason made a suggestion for educators to go through the handbook and rules at the beginning of the school year.
“Maybe that could help,” Mason said.
Miller also reported that funding for the Structured Day program is going away, but they’ll continue to look at making changes for the alternative program. More than 150 students have attended in the past.
“They have provided a good service that we’re going to miss,” Miller said.
Board members also reviewed an increase in dropout data. During the 2012-13 school year, 19 students quit school. The count for the previous school year was 14.
Miller said those numbers are still lower than the state.
“We’ve come a long way from where we used to be,” Miller said referring to previous years which included totals of 75, 53 and 47. “We’re doing a lot better with keeping our kids in school.”